The Benefits of Exercising in Nature
Spring is in the air and with the clocks changing, this means longer, lighter days and you might find you have an extra spring in your step too, so why not fire up your exercise regime and make the most of the great outdoors.
In this blog article we share 8 ways you can reap the rewards of exercising in nature:
Lift your mood - when you exercise, your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, producing feelings of euphoria and happiness and exercising outdoors provides a double whammy as this also puts you in direct contact with sunlight, which boosts the production of serotonin, our brain's 'happy' hormone, and helps to reduce depression and anxiety.
A greater sense of wellbeing - being in nature has been proven to positively impact the brain. This is because outdoor exercise stimulates all 5 of our senses in a way that indoor activities can't - breathing in fresh air, feeling the ground under your feet, and taking in the colours and sounds in nature all help us to feel at peace both with ourselves the world around us.
Boost your energy - it might sound odd but more exercise = more energy. Exercise encourages the body to produce mitochondria in our muscle cells. Mitochondria are known as our cells energy powerhouses, they produce fuel from the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe, and having more of them means greater energy. Comparative tests done on walking the same distance indoors vs outdoors have shown significantly higher scores for vitality and energy and lower measures of anger and depression.
Reduce stress - more studies on activity in urban vs natural environments show improved stress levels in the great outdoors. Mindfulness is a great tool to reduce stress and you can make the most of your time outdoors by being present in nature, try this - soften your gaze, drop your shoulders and try to channel your energy away from your mind and into your body, focus on your surroundings and try not to think about plans, stresses or worries, do this for 5-10 deep breaths and see how you feel.
Save money - on average monthly gym memberships range between £20-50, with swankier gyms costing into the £100s. If you use your gym 5 times a week, you're probably getting your monies worth, however, despite good intentions, most of us overestimate how much we actually use the gym… Plus if you're running out of your front door rather than driving to the gym, you're saving on petrol too.
Feel the burn - research shows that running or walking outside burns approximately 20% more calories than hitting the treadmill at the same speed. This is down to a combination of factors - when we're distracted by our surroundings, we are less aware of how tired we are or how much our muscles ache. Also with the environment around us constantly changing, inclines, bumps, holes, and/or obstacles, force us to adapt and work harder. Changes in the weather like heat, wind (or an unexpected downpour!) can also increase the difficulty of a workout. And finally - you'll probably work out for longer, because if you're struggling it's far easier to hit stop on the treadmill than turn back on a planned out route.
Mix it up! Changing up your workout is good for your body, but if running or walking aren't for you and you're more a HIIT or Tabata fan there are plenty of free fitness apps you can download to your phone for on the go coaching. We love the '’7 minute Workout' app, it has loads of different workouts to try, including bodyweight only options, so you're sorted whatever your goals, level of fitness or equipment you might have and with every routine only 7 minutes, there's no room for excuses!
Get a vitamin D boost - our all important sunshine vitamin is vital for a robust immune system, healthy bones, muscles and teeth as well as our mental health. Produced in our skin in response to sunlight now is the time to make the most of it as during darker months, it is impossible to get enough. As it's a fat soluble vitamin, topping up your stores through the spring and summer can help to make sure you have enough through the winter as well.
If you want to power up your workout, whether indoors or outside, Get More Vits tropical flavoured BCAA drink is great to fuel your muscles and with added caffeine provides extra energy for those days when you need a bit of a boost. If weight loss is your goal, our juicy watermelon flavoured L-Carnitine & Chromium helps to maintain a healthy metabolism and normal blood glucose levels. Post-exercise Get More Vits Recovery can help you to recover faster with added B vitamins for energy and replenishing lost electrolytes.